Homeschooling is one of the fastest-growing forms of education in the United States. The trend, which was fuelled by COVID-19 school closures, has continued to grow post-pandemic. Why homeschool? For many parents (who have flexible schedules), it offers more freedom and a tailored alternative to traditional school.
But how do you know if homeschooling is right for your family? And how do you find a homeschool program that will engage your kids? Here are five tips to help you navigate a successful transition to homeschooling.
Recognize the Commitment
While doing your research on homeschooling, understand that it is different from remote learning in many ways. You will often have to create lesson plans, ensure your child is completing all of the activities outlined in the curriculum, and grade your kids’ assignments.
This can quickly become a daunting task for parents with no background in teaching. It’s up to you to decide if this level of work is worth the flexibility and personalized experience that homeschooling offers.
Research Local Requirements
Before you decide to homeschool your child, check your state’s legal requirements. Some states simply require you to withdraw from your local school system before starting to homeschool. Others, like New York, have much stricter rules, such as submitting quarterly instruction plans. Make sure you are prepared to meet all the requirements before making the switch.
Select a Program
The next step is to choose an appropriate curriculum for your child. Your curriculum must meet the requirements of your region but there are many programs and resources available online. Selecting the right program for your child is the best way to tailor and personalize their education.
There are many programs to choose from that suit children of different ages and with a variety of learning styles. Consider selecting an option that will work for you, your children, and both of your academic goals. After finding the right curriculum, stay involved in your child's learning by checking their progress regularly and adjusting the curriculum as needed. This flexible approach ensures a responsive and effective education for your child.
Supplement the Curriculum
Parents are not alone - feel free to find additional ways to supplement your children’s learning along the way. For example, Duolingo is a great free option to help your kids learn a language. Apps like Coding Safari or Kodable can even help preschoolers learn to code.
If you are looking for additional help in traditional subjects, seek out a tutoring program like Mathnasium that can provide one-on-one learning to your child for advanced math problems or even to provide a different way to learn the math you are teaching with your chosen program.
And it doesn’t always have to feel like work. Playing games, exploring nature, and encouraging your child’s creativity and growth mindset through art and music can be great supplemental learning tools that add an element of play to your child’s education.
Connect with Others
Many homeschooling groups on social media can help you connect with other homeschooling families, or you can even consider joining a homeschooling co-op. Homeschooling co-ops have traditionally been used to help homeschooled children socialize and learn in different ways. Both options allow you to learn from parents who have been homeschooling for years and get advice from families in similar situations too.
Remember to check in and assess your educational plan regularly and adapt it to meet your child’s evolving needs and interests.
John Bianchette, Vice President of Education and Training of Mathnasium – responsible for developing the curriculum of mathematics that is being taught across the globe in over 1,100 learning centers.